Kendrapara, June 26 (LocalWire): The demand for “Pakhia”, a traditional cover made from palm leaves and bamboo which protects one from rains, has increased during this monsoon season in Kendrapara.
Farmers are preferring to use the Pakhia instead of raincoats as raincoats are not suitable for agricultural work.
“Its not possible for us to plough or plant the paddy saplings while wearing raincoats or holding umbrellas, for which we prefer to wear Pakhia to save us from the rain and the scorching sun during cultivation season,” said Anadi Behera, a farmer of Bharatapur village.
Soaring prices of raincoats and umbrellas are other factors that have forced farmers to use the Pakhia, said Manasi Jena, a farmer of Gandakhia.
“I have sold around 30 Pakhias in the last two weeks after the arrival of monsoons.
An average Pakhia cost is around Rs 200-250.
During summer, I collect palm leaves and bamboo to make Pakhias to sell to the farmers during monsoon season.
Apart from the farmers, many villagers and workers also prefer to use Pakhias.
Pakhia has got a very special place in the rural culture surrounding monsoons,” said Madhaba Behera, a Pakhia maker of Garadapur village.
“Two years ago, the cost of one Pakhia used to be Rs 100.
This year the prices have increased to Rs 200-250 per piece as we have to pay more to the weavers and the price of raw materials has also increased,” said Abdul Khan, a seller of Pakhia at Kendrapara.
“I learnt the art of making Pakhia from my father. It takes 4-6 hours for a person to weave a Pakhia.
A large number of youths have abandoned the profession as it requires hard labour and offers little income in return.
Only the elders are keeping this profession alive,” said Ranjan Behera, a Pakhia maker from Patkura village.
In the absence of patronage of any kind, the Pakhia makers have given up all hopes of arresting the declining trend in their age-old work.
Unless the government comes forward with proper aid, the craft-persons will be forced to let their craft form pass into oblivion, said Ranjan Das, a Pakhia maker of Rajkanika.